|3||Percent quicker than FME 2012 through comparable automated testing|
|6||Platforms supported (in various ways) (including iOS and Android)|
|15||Months of active development|
|99||Servers (real and virtual) in the build and test cluster|
|742||Items included in the 2013 “What’s New”|
|964||Unique customer requests resolved *|
|1,982||In-person attendees giving feedback at the 38 FME User Meetings held during calendar 2012|
|3,132||FME installers built (across all products and platforms)|
|5,052||Documented development tasks closed **|
|8,425||Automated tests run daily (a further 2,080 are run at weekends)|
|10,230||Source code check-ins made|
|14,000||Cups of coffee consumed ***|
|28,000||CPU hours of automated testing|
|51,406||Person-hours estimated effort in development (about 25 years on a 40 hourweek)|
|400,000||Data points per build|
Yes, I know, I also did this a couple of years ago… but thanks to Safe’s Build and Release team for gathering all of these numbers and keeping the machine grinding the product day in and out.
When putting together yesterday’s presentation, the one thing that Don and I wrestled with was the 742. Not only is it 700 more than the answer to life, the universe, and everything, which is impressive by itself, 742 is the number of items that were deemed worthy of recording in our “What’s New” list. Every one of those 742 is important to at least some user out there, every one of the 742 was sweated over, tested, documented, and perfected by our team. Every one of the 742 encapsulates a bit of the life energy of the people who worked on it.
How could we possibly do justice to each of those items in the 50 or so minutes we have? By my math, that is about 4 seconds per item. And while Don and I are known for speaking at a good Canadian clip, this would be too much even for us.
So I thought I’d make a Wordle that would at least attempt to show the scope of what the team had accomplished, which it nicely does. And then, in the end, we just picked some favorites to go into more detail on, knowing that we were leaving huge swaths of extremely powerful and useful functionality unmentioned.
So here are my conclusions: First off, to those Safers who worked on things that didn’t get mentioned, and to those customers whose great suggestions we implemented but didn’t call out yesterday, I thank you for your work and your creativity. And I apologize for not being able to give each item the time it deserved.
Secondly, yesterday’s webinar wasn’t the end of the story. To those readers interested in exploring how FME 2013 can make you more productive, and solve more problems in ever quicker times, there are plenty of options:
- the What’s Great in FME 2013 page
- the recording from yesterday’s FME 2013 Unveiling webcast,
- the dueling FME Server 2013 and FME Desktop 2013 deep dive webinars,
- the FME 2013 Contest,
- the Launch FME Insider Newsletter,
- the FME 2013 YouTube videos,
- the FME Evangelist blog posts,
- the FME Community Answers site,
- the ongoing FME webinars,
- and the FME World Tour 2013
Taken together these will provide ample opportunity to really see all that FME 2013 has to offer.
Lastly, just get the product. Try it out. Explore it. If we’ve done our job, it should *just work*. And at the end of the day, that’s really all the matters.
On 27 May, 1998, a very select few individuals woke up to this message in their inbox:
The FME mailing list is a forum for FME users to ask questions, receive help,
and generally exchange information on FME. Questions about FME formats,
processing capabilities, future plans, documentation, mapping (control) files
and coordinate conversion issues are welcomed.
The original FME mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org) had been born. In the beginning the majority of the messages came from Safe announcing bits of new functionality together with mapping file codesnippets (MULTI_READER gets wildcards!, a new OverlayFactory, DonutFactory can drop holes!!!), but before long, a thriving community of questioners and answerers began to accumulate.
Hosting technology changed, and soon we were email@example.com, and from there, firstname.lastname@example.org. Times changed, and nearly 5 years ago, we bid adieu to Yahoo with the below post:
Dec 10, 2007: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/fme/message/14389
Goodbye FME (Yahoo) Mailing List,
We’ve moved you over to Google now, as Mark has pointed out, but he
did ask me to submit the coda to this archive.
It’s hard to believe this group has been alive for nearly 10 years
now. As I flipped through the archive just now, I was left amazed at
the wealth of knowledge and fun that has been shared in the 14388
postings that line these electronic halls.
The group started in a pre-workbench era, early questions were about
how to read multiple files “without coding for hours”. We’ve come a
long way, baby.
Thanks to all of you for not only being along for the ride, but
particularly for contributing to the journey. We couldn’t have done
it without you.
See you on the other
And so the Google-hosted FME Talk began. Today, there are more than 2,700 members of FME Talk, and more than 27,000 posts in the archive! The group remains very active, and 2012 is on track to be the most active year ever.
Hidden behind these post counts lies an untold wealth of data transformation tips, tricks, know-how, and general time-saving-and-priceless information that has been shared over the past 14 or so years of FME community. Though the hosting has changed multiple times, and members have come and gone, the high quality of the FME community members has remained. Friendships have been started, and personalities have emerged as the back and forth information has flowed. Many, many people have shared their expertise freely in the FME Talk corridors, and the whole FME community is so much better for their efforts.
Thanks so much to each and every one of you that has participated. And I must single out Mark Ireland for championing this effort within Safe for many many years now – thanks so much Mark. And special thanks to the FME Heros and Idols like Jeff Konnen, Hans van del Maarel, Jason Birch, Klaas Dijkstra, Michael Harbata, and Peter Laulund who have contributed so much to our collective FME Talk knowledge.
Google has been a very gracious host these past 5 years, but the siren-call of SalesForce has proven too enticing to ignore. To that end, I’m pleased to announce that “FME Community Answers”, the latest chapter in our evolving community, has thrown open its doors as of today. It’s a much more modern platform for getting answers to questions, and more importantly, it is a close brother of FMEpedia and as such allows us to bring these treasure troves of FME goodies more easily to FME users everywhere. The net result of this all will be an even richer ability for FME newbies and experts alike to “ask questions, receive help, and generally exchange information on FME”.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
See you on the other FME Community Answers side…
PS: Be sure to read Mark’s excellent intro post over on the FME Evangelist.
Much has been written about converging threads in the geospatial arena over the past several years (6 posts on Safe’s blog alone!), whether it’s BIM and GIS, 3D and 2D, 2.5D and 2D, or even geospatial and music videos! But over the past couple of months I’ve noticed a significant set of developments emanating from the gaming industry that are sure to have ramifications for the unsuspecting, staid geospatial industry.
I was first alerted to this trend by my friends over at the Very Spatial Podcast. Back in June their episode 361 picked out a couple highlights from the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and pointed out how useful the technologies being developed and deployed for games could be in the geospatial realm. The first to be highlighted was the upcoming “Watch Dogs” game, which combines very realistic 3D city simulation with a fictional exploration of what happens when all those sensors that comprise the Internet of Things fall under the control of hackers. If nothing else, city councils may find themselves having much to learn from players of this game, if only to avoid creating a future dystopia.
In a more uplifting (if also visually compelling) vein, Very Spatial also pointed to the latest incarnation of Sim City as a stunning example of the geospatial 3D realism about to rain down on gamers. Full disclosure; in my youth I did spend more than a few hours foisting stadiums on impoverished urban ghettos, but never was the experience as rich as it is in the latest iteration.
While we still have to wait until March to see it live, the realism of the simulation reminds me of Infrastructure Modeler demos I’ve seen at past Autodesk University shows, or the demo I saw more recently of the UVM Systems’ CityGrid package (which recently was selected by SwissTopo as part of a nationwide 3D Building modeling project). Last July Esri Australia’s 3D geospatial specialist Leonard Olyott stated that, “Computing advancements in the gaming industry have driven our ability to take GIS technology into a 3D environment,” and discussed how Esri’s CityEngine is productizing some of these advancements.
I’m convinced it won’t be long until city planners (or at least potential mayoralty candidates) will be asking for a way to bring their GIS information into SimCity 5, or maybe there will be a SimCity extension available for their favourite GIS. Indeed, it turns out that Ergon Energy is already underway in creating a SimCity-like environment for its planners.
The most fascinating convergence of all of these is emanating from Mojang, makers of the tween, teen, (and adult) 3D building game, Minecraft. Much to the chagrin of parents everywhere, a whole generation of future geospatial professionals is learning to painlessly navigate and create immersive 3D worlds, becoming exceptionally proficient at using keyboard commands intermingled with direct manipulation graphical commands, as they log the 10,000 hours needed to achieve expert status. I found this out first hand recently when, the night before doing a webinar on 3D, I asked my 15 year old son to whip me up a model of the Barsebäck Nuclear Power Plant using Minecraft. In a matter of minutes, he had the model on the right for me.
While this experience hinted at the potential of Minecraft for more serious work, I had no idea that anyone else had been thinking along these lines. So imagine my surprise upon learning that Mojang and the United Nations were teaming together in the cleverly named initiative “Block By Block” to encourage the use of Minecraft in crowdsourcing urban planning, giving youth “the opportunity to show planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities in the future”.
Years ago, Google Maps democratized mapping and challenged geospatial professionals to “up their game” and set a new standard for spatial interfaces. Today, the continued evolution of 3D gaming technology is significantly raising the bar and the expectations for the immersive 3D environments that the next generation of urban designers, city planners, and geospatial technicians will demand. The future will be here before we know it, and geospatial will never have been so much fun…